Alberta’s online cannabis store pauses chocolate sales due to melting concerns

Alberta’s government-operated online cannabis retailer is pausing internet sales of cannabis-infused chocolates for more than two months, citing the effects of summer heat on chocolate shipments to consumers.

“To avoid our online customers receiving melted products, chocolates won’t be available online from June 29, 2020, to September 7, 2020, subject to change pending weather conditions,” said in a notice posted June 26.

Cannabis chocolate products will still be available in Alberta through the province’s bricks-and-mortar cannabis retailers, which number almost 500. carried about 27 SKUs of cannabis-infused chocolate, Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis spokeswoman Chara Goodings told Marijuana Business Daily in a statement.

Goodings wrote that the online retailer had not received complaints about melted chocolates from customers, “but in order to maintain high product quality and stability, decided to temporarily halt the sale of edible chocolates to online customers during the warmer months.”

“As shipping chocolates during the summer is a challenge, has always planned for edible chocolates to be seasonal,” Goodings added.

Ray Gracewood, senior vice-president of marketing and communications with cannabis producer Organigram, said the company’s cannabis chocolate sales in Alberta are “relatively heavily skewed” towards retail stores over online purchases.

Organigram has invested heavily in chocolate production, with a 15 million Canadian dollar ($11 million) “high speed, high capacity, fully automated chocolate production line” capable of producing up to four million kilograms of chocolate per year.

“If the logistical realities of chocolate through the summer is that that product needs to take a two-month pause, then that’s just a seasonal element that we can deal with,” Gracewood told MJBizDaily in an interview.

“And I think like everything else in this business, it’s learning as you go.

“So for us, this summer is just going to be a good one to understand how much of an impact the weather is going to have on chocolate products, and how we have to adjust or if we have to adjust from there,” he said.

Gracewood said Organigram’s direct-to-consumer medical business has received a small number of complaints, “in the low single digits,” about melted shipments of cannabis chocolate products.

Canada’s regulations governing edible cannabis products specify that edibles may not require refrigeration or freezing.